‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’ captures the spirit of modern resilience.
Last year captivating Melbourne songwriter Rosalind introduced herself as a talented, emotionally-aware and captivating storyteller in just four standout tracks on her debut self-titled album, taking listeners on a journey of a relationship breakdown.
Today, Rosalind continues to take listeners an emotional journey, this time capturing a mood for 2020 with ‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’, her first single of the year.
A pop-rock anthem with a heady rhythm, unique harmonies, and a super catchy pre-chorus that’ll stay in your head for days, ‘Really You’re a Nice Kid’ is reflective of resilience in the face of online negativity or online abuse; something that the world can relate to as COVID-19 shapes our relationship with the internet and each other.
To celebrate the release, we sat down with Rosalind (virtually of course) to talk all things music, her own experiences with online negativity and being a musician in the midst of a pandemic.
Hey thanks so much for chatting! First up, can you tell us how you began a career in music?
I grew up knowing songwriting was important to me. As early as I can remember, I would make up songs for our road trips, and it was thrilling when friends sung them with me. From the moment I heard everyone join in, packed into the back of our old station wagon, I was hooked. I knew that performing would be part of my life from early on too. I grew up in theatres and rehearsal rooms, as my mother was a theatre director. My sister and I used to raid her costume cupboard, and force our parents to sit through our shows. So really, I didn’t have a choice!
2019 was an absolute whirlwind, recording and releasing my debut EP, getting a band together and gigging, meeting new people, and of course writing and performing a Cabaret show for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Congrats on your spellbinding new single, ‘Really You’re a Nice Kid’. Tell us about the process of pulling the song together? Has it been in the works for a long time?
Thank you! Sometimes songs arrive fully formed and others you have to work at for weeks. I guess I am like so many of the songwriters I’ve met, we’re constantly observing the world and spinning stories. Subconsciously, there are tons of songs in our heads all the time. This song was definitely one of those that jumped out in one go.
I wrote ‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’ last September. I was moving house, so I wrote it surrounded by boxes sitting on my dining table, pretty much all in one go. As soon as I got it down, I loved it and the pre-chorus was in my head for days. I immediately brought it to my band and said; ‘we’re going to record this one’. In fact, when I booked in studio time we hadn’t even performed it live! They probably thought I was a tiny bit insane. But I was certain it was the right song to record next. It actually sums up a lot of what I’m thinking about in quarantine, so I guess I was right.
The track itself is a song about resilience, an anthem for those facing online negativity or online abuse. What inspired the lyrics? You can really feel the passion come through your vocals, particularly with your tone.
My experiences online gaming when I was younger had put me off online communities completely as a teen. But, you can’t avoid social media as a musician! By the time I wrote ‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’, Instagram had become this community of musicians I could connect to. Around the same time, I was reading discussions some musicians were having about how hard it can be to navigate. Actually, I think it was Tones and I who posted about the bullying she experienced throughout her success, and it led me down a rabbit hole. Reading about it was so frustrating. Relative distance, the tiniest hint of anonymity, and our filters just switch off. Good people say awful things.
‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’ has a bridge that’s meant to sound a bit like a spell. When I was little, I remember being surrounded by family, lighting candles and saying those words ‘with harm to none, so shall it be’. So, let’s cast a spell together and make a promise to stay strong despite something that can be really awful to deal with.
Your song is particularly relevant in these COVID times, as most of our interactions and day to day life has moved online. Why do you believe this is an important topic to explore?
We’re all feeling the effects of social isolation and it makes having a welcoming online community so much more important! We are all stuck at home, so it’s really hard to stay optimistic and motivated right now. We’ve all seen friends, even celebrities, ‘take a break’ from their social media. Unfortunately, online abuse is normal.
When I learnt about online safety in high school, they give you a list of don’ts, all of them unrealistic. Don’t post anything personal online, don’t look at negative comments. But the reality is kids nowadays grow up with social media, and if they had the same experience as me, they were never taught that it’s okay to be affected by this stuff, and learn to handle it. It takes time to build resilience.
This is the follow up to your debut EP, which was a solid introduction to your talent, emotionally-aware and captivating storytelling. How do you feel your music has changed, or that you’ve grown since your EP?
I loved creating my EP, it was my first experience recording. I loved exploring unusual harmonies, and playing with layering, since I can’t do that when performing solo. When I wrote this song, I immediately knew what I wanted it to sound like.
Music is constant evolution, a polaroid of where you are in a point in time. ‘Really You’re A Nice Kid’ is the big sister to my EP. I embraced harmonies and dynamics, pulling back in a similar way to Stronger, and adding unique harmonies like Heartbeat. I also embraced all those seemingly contradictory facets of my music; I sing like a folk singer, but I’ve got fado music in my bones too. I love rock music, but I’ve developed and added a bit of a pop influence as well.
Also, unlike my EP, I recorded with the band I’ve been performing with over the last year. Alesha, Julian, James and Ethan were an important part of the process this time around and being in the studio with them was brilliant! We recorded a demo in Julian’s basement and were able to mess around before we got in the studio. Once we were there James recorded the drums in pretty much one go, Alesha is a whiz with harmonies and put up with my perfectionism making us do approximately three thousand takes (there are around 26 vocal lines in this song). Ethan and Julian are amazing, Ethan played lead guitar and Julian was on bass and acoustic guitar.
I can’t wait to get back to the studio and continue evolving – we’re already planning our next few releases, and I’m ready to keep experimenting with my sound.
Your music has this bewitching and captivating vibe to it, with a cross of folk, rock and pop. Who are some of your musical influences?
Thank you! As with all music, I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. My influences are eclectic, and I have a lot of songs that are ‘guilty pleasure’ songs, though I refuse to be guilty!
My family are Portuguese. My Vovo used to teach me old Portuguese fado songs. Her favourite singer was Amalia Rodrigues, and we used to play her while we mashed up plums for jam. I think that my love of those songs comes through in my work. Fado is all about saudade, which means longing. When you sing fado you should be really feeling what you sing.
I grew up singing American folk music; Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Joan Baez were big for me. I fell in love with their lyrics, the way that songwriters of that era can capture a whole world in song. I often feel that I write folk songs and they shift into rock and pop music, rather than the other way round.
I adore Hozier, I’ve seen him perform live twice and he blew me away both times, and Florence + the Machine’s ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ album is one of my all-time favourites. Another favourite is Lorde’s Melodrama album, which I’ve listened to about a million times. I love her songwriting, she has an incredible ability to convey exactly how she feels. I love Aurora too, who I only recently discovered, and I think you can hear some of her influence in this track.
Your song shares a great message! What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
‘Don’t take criticism from someone who you wouldn’t accept advice from’ is an oldy but a goody. And always; make what you love.
What do you miss the most about performing live?
The people. I adore meeting people at shows you always meet the best characters! That’s the reason I record and perform, it’s sharing something meaningful to me with people, and gaining a connection. I love the high of being on stage and knowing the people in audience are vibing, but I also love the moments after the show when I get to talk to people about how they connected to the stories I sing. It’s pretty strange to be releasing a song without being able to perform it in front of people. I love to see people dancing, to a part of someone’s life for the evening, a scene in the movie of someone’s life.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
A lot of our plans were put on hold this year, for obvious reasons. All of our festival gigs were cancelled, and it’s hard to arrange new music when we can’t be in the same room! But 2020 has taught me to be flexible. I’ve been writing like crazy and we have plans to go back to recording at the end of this year. I’ll be continuing to create my podcast “Bad” Behavior. I’m embracing quarantine and have started collaborating with people online, which is a whole new adventure. I’m looking forward to that.
Check out the single below or stream it on Spotify.
This article originally appeared on Forte.